NCF Nation: Cajuns-Gators-111012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp's hair was pretty mussed up. It was sticking up and out while he was standing at the podium during his postgame news conference.

It was most likely because of the celebration after the wild finish in the Gators' 27-20 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. It's not often that teams win games by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown with two seconds remaining.

But it also could have been because of the way his offense played.

No. 6 Florida (9-1) managed just 162 yards passing and 311 total yards against a ULL defense that was giving up 294.6 yards per game passing and 433.2 yards per game in total offense, stats which ranked 114th and 89th nationally. And the Gators had starting quarterback Jeff Driskel running the offense for nearly three quarters before he left with an ankle injury.

Watching the Gators flounder and stumble around Florida Field the way they did against one of the nation's worst defenses is enough to make even a former defensive coordinator want to pull his hair out. Then again, you'd think he'd be used to it by now.

Florida's offense hasn't been the same since a 38-0 rout of Kentucky. The Gators gained more than 276 yards once in their next five games (403 against Vanderbilt) and posted a season-low 183 yards against South Carolina. The same issues that plagued the Gators against ULL (5-4) have been present in each game: receivers not getting separation, the pass protection breaking down, the quarterback holding onto the ball too long, and the line struggling to consistently open holes in the running game against stacked defensive fronts.

Add in undisciplined penalties, dropped passes and poor throws, and you've pretty much covered every reason why the Gators are having trouble moving the ball and scoring points -- even against non-BCS opponents.

Read the complete story here.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida remained unbeaten at home, but it wasn't easy or without high drama.

After heavy underdog Louisiana-Lafayette scored 17 unanswered points in the second half on Saturday, the Gators finally came to life with a late touchdown-scoring drive to tie the game and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown with two seconds left in the game to win, 27-20.

It was over when: Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy blocked Brett Baer’s punt and Jelani Jenkins returned it 36 yards for a touchdown with two seconds remaining.

Game ball goes to: Purifoy, who recorded his second blocked punt of the season. He also had a block against Missouri on Nov. 3.

Stat of the game: ULL’s pass defense was ranked 114th nationally (294.6 yards per game), but Florida could only manage 162 yards passing.

How the game was won: Florida coach Will Muschamp used a timeout with 13 seconds remaining to force Louisiana-Lafayette to punt instead of allowing the clock to run out and go to overtime.

QB controversy? Florida starting QB Jeff Driskel was hurt when he was tackled for no gain on a run over right tackle. He limped off the field and spent time on the sideline getting his bare foot taped. He got his shoe taped as well and was then taken to the locker room. Driskel had completed 13 of 16 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 76 yards on 12 carries at the time of his injury.

Best call: The Ragin’ Cajuns had trouble moving the ball in the first half, but came out in the second half and attacked the Gators on the perimeter in the running game. UF couldn’t keep contain, and ULL was able to march down the field and eat up clock. ULL had a pair of 77-yard scoring drives in the second half (one resulted in a TD, the other a field goal). The Ragin’ Cajuns had 125 total yards in the first half.

Best call 2: It was a play that should have worked for a touchdown, but Florida TE Clay Burton dropped an easy completion. Driskel gave the ball to TE Jordan Reed, who kept running right and zipped the ball to a wide-open Burton in the end zone. The ball bounced off Burton’s chest and the Gators settled for a field goal and a 13-3 lead. Great play that should have worked.

Unsung hero: ULL defensive coordinator Greg Stewart. UF’s offense isn’t spectacular by any means, but the Gators should have been able to have success against a team giving up 433.2 yards per game. But Stewart’s defense played its best game of the season, especially up front. The defensive line clogged the middle all day long and kept Florida’s running game contained. That should have been good enough for the Ragin’ Cajuns to get their first victory in five tries against the Gators.

Play that should have won the game: The Ragin’ Cajuns stunned the crowd at Florida Field late in the third quarter by blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown to take a 17-13 lead. Bradley Brown blocked Kyle Christy’s kick and Blake Comminie picked it up and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. It was ULL’s first blocked kick of the season.

Second guessing: ULL kicked a 49-yard field goal with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter to tie the game at 3-3. Why not take a chance and go for the first down on fourth-and-5? UF’s offense was sputtering and having a hard time moving the ball, and scoring touchdowns against UF’s defense is not easy. It would have been an aggressive call, but worth the gamble.

Second guessing II: ULL took possession at its own 27-yard line with 1:42 remaining in regulation, but the Ragin’ Cajuns played for OT instead of electing to try and get into field goal range. ULL ran the ball three consecutive times, which allowed Muschamp to call timeout.

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